“Showing Favoritism”

This weeks meditation:  “Showing Favoritism”
Read: James 2:1-13

Valentines Day just passed a couple days ago.  This is always a time that we do something for the favorite someone in our life.  On Valentines it is okay to show a little bit of favoristism to those who are closest to you.  But in this passage of scripture James warns us that favoristism in the general course of life is not a healthy habit for the committed Christian.

Imagine yourself sitting in a worship service and two very different people come in to sit beside you.  The first one is very well dressed, well groomed, and has the latest leather Bible that they are carrying with them.  the second is a very poor person that looks like they just rolled out of bed and stumbled into church that morning.  There is no leather Bible in hand, just the smell of alchohol.

How are you going to respond to both of these scenerios?  What James is trying to teach us in these 13 verses is that God’s love and acceptance is the same for each of these people.  Not only that, he says that ours should be as well.  So often we treat people with favoritism by how they look on the outside instead of getting to know them on the inside.

If we are going to “love our neighbor as ourself” then there will be many times we have to look past the first impression to see the person that God loves and wants to reach out to.  In verse 9 James says that showing favoritism is a sin.  We often proclaim that racism, discrimination, and hatred are sins (rightly so) but do we realize that even our attitude about someone different from us in any way is also a sin.

Jesus is very clear that we are to love all people, even those who are living in sin and need to be saved through the cross of Christ.  If we are careful not to elevate ourselves and our friends over others we will soon realize that we have been saved by Jesus Christ in exactly this same way.

James ends in verses 12-13 with a very clear instruction.  He says, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment!”

Make it personal:  Perhaps someone came to your mind as you were reading this.  Maybe not someone sitting next to you in church but someone in your community or at your workplace.  The next time you see them say to yourself, “God loves them and so will I!”  It will be a good reminder that in God’s eyes we all are very important.

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church